Why is Tesla recalling 2 million vehicles for an Autopilot defect?

Tesla has issued a recall for more than 2 million vehicles on the road after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found a defect in its Autopilot driver assistance technology.

NHTSA has been conducting an investigation into Autopilot technology for more than two years, stemming from around a dozen incidents in which Teslas using Autopilot were reported crashing into parked emergency vehicles.

NHTSA said Tesla’s method of ensuring drivers are still paying attention while the driver-assistance system is activated is “insufficient.” Autopilot and similar systems still require drivers to pay attention and be in control of the car when in use.

A Washington Post analysis this month identified about 40 fatal or serious crashes since 2016 involving Tesla’s driver assistance software; the bulk of them were identified through NHTSA’s data, and the rest surfaced through lawsuits. In several of those cases, drivers had activated Autopilot on roads where it was not designed to be used.

The recall, which will be delivered as a software update to affected Teslas, requires more “controls and alerts” to make sure drivers are still paying attention to the road while using Autosteer, a key function of Autopilot.

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